NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZMQ) – Tuesdays at The Michigan Iron Industry Museum mean presentations from experts on many different topics relating to The UP’s mining industry.
This afternoon, PHD candidate Allie Penn gave a presentation on paternalism on the Marquette Iron Range. The topic of her dissertation, Penn says the culture of the Marquette range was shaped largely by the companies running it.
Penn is current a PHD candidate at Wayne State University, but she started off her higher education career in Marquette at NMU, where she worked at the Iron Industry Museum her Junior and Senior years. She said that it was actually in learning about the copper mines that she realized how little was written about the iron industry.
“I really care about the people who work in the mines and made life possible here.” Penn said. Her research revolves around the company’s who built the infrastructure for Michigan mines, and how paternalism and welfare capitalism played a part in the culture.
Penn says paternalism is the ideology that the company will provide for and take care of you, the company being business like Cleveland Cliffs who owned mines here in the UP. She says that it’s evident how paternal company’s were here in the UP because of how much infrastructure is left behind from those mining companies.
Penn is just one of many presenters coming to the Industry Museum this summer. She says these presentations are a great way to get a taste of a new topic in history.
“You could think you know the whole story and then you attend one of these programs and you learn that there’s so much more to the story than you could have ever possible imagined.” Penn said. “I think that’s the power of these Tuesday afternoon programs.”
Next week, the museum will be showing Saving our Theater, a 23 minute documentary about the importance of preserving local theaters. August 1st, Dan Korhonen and other participants of the 2023 documentary will be discussing the making of the film that explores the critical stage many local theaters are in and raises awareness for their preservation.